During consideration of the personal independence payment (PIP) clauses of the Welfare Reform Bill on 17 January, the Government announced their intention to have a graduated introduction of the new benefit. To ensure a smooth introduction, the launch will be undertaken through a phased approach, commencing initially with a subset of new claimants. This will ensure processes and procedures are working fully before moving to process all new claims and then reassessing existing disability living allowance (DLA) claimants.
Bootle benefit centre (Bootle BC) will administer the first new claims from spring 2013, from areas including Merseyside, north-west England, Cumbria, Cheshire and north-east England. People in these locations will be the first to claim the new benefit. The primary reason for selecting the Bootle BC is that it handles DLA new claims in volumes that will provide a robust test of PIP processes and new computer systems. During this period, new claimants in all other parts of the country will continue to claim DLA as now.
The remaining network of benefit centres currently administering new claims for DLA will start to take on new claims for PIP from summer 2013, once evidence is in place that processes are working as intended. In addition this network will handle continuing DLA claims for children. Blackpool benefit centre will undertake PIP reassessment activity for existing DLA claimants aged 16 to 64.